An incredible five goal haul in the second half has helped Rockdale City Suns to a 5-2 come from behind victory against local rivals Sutherland Sharks during their PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s clash at Ilinden Sports Centre on Sunday.
Trailing 2-0 after an hour, Rockdale delivered an almighty fight back with goals to Jordan Figon, Blake RIcciuto, Jonathan Grozdanovski, Toufic Alameddine and Alec Urosevski ensuring the home side took home the three competition points.
It was an onslaught Sutherland didn’t see coming after a Trent McClennehan own goal and a Tomohiro Kajiyama goal had them riding high with a two-goal lead and only 30 minutes to play.
However it wasn’t to be for Sutherland as they conceded goal after goal and had Kajiyama sent off on their way to a demoralising loss on the road.
Sutherland weren’t going to let the home side dictate the early actions
In the 2nd minute Sutherland Sharks almost took the lead when a poor clearance by Ante Covic led to an open shot for Kajiyama but he could only fire it into the woodwork.
The first real chance for Rockdale City Suns arrived in the 14th minute when a long floating ball was headed over the bar by Ricciuto.
Sutherland took the lead in the 20th minute when Patrick O’Shea knocked the loose ball into the back of the net thanks to a deflection from Trent McClenehan after Rockdale’s goalkeeper Covic had parried the ball into his path.
In the 26th minute the sharks should have doubled the lead when a cross from the right found Nathan Elasi unmarked in the box. However, the former Melbourne Victory player couldn’t thread the ball past the feet of his former A-League teammate Covic who blocked well.
In the 30th minute it was Elasi again who tested Covic. After the striker charged down the flank and unleashed a powerful shot directed on goal , Rockdale custodian Covic turned the ball nicely over the crossbar.
In the 37th minute there was another close call for Rockdale when Isaac Savor cleared a Blair Brown shot off the goal line.
Rockdale should have done better in the 42nd minute when a free-kick found Jordan Figon, but he fired over the crossbar much to the despair of the home fans.
In the second stanza, Sutherland Sharks doubled their lead in the 61st minute when Blair Brown hooked the ball back from the by-line for Kajiyama wto tap home.
Five minutes later Rockdale City Suns hit back with a lovely goal of their own.
Alameddine played the ball to Aleks Canak who in turn put in a delightful cross from the right for Jordan Figon.
Figon made sure that his wonderful diagonal touch eluded goalkeeper Nathan Denham as the ball hit the back of the net.
Rockdale equalised in the 72nd minute when Alameddine fired home from the penalty spot.
Momentum had well and truly swung by now and Rockdale City Suns took the lead in the 74th minute when Ricciuto scored with a delightful lob.
Sutherland were now imploding and bad became worse in the 76th minute when Kajiyama received two yellow cards only minutes apart and was sent for an early shower.
Rockdale took a 4-2 lead in the 79th minute when Urosevski controlled the ball superbly and with two touches found the back of the net.
Grozdanovski was the next to get in on the goal spree and fired past Denham to make it 5-2.
Rockdale City’s player-coach Paul Reid was justifiably proud of his team’s performance.
“I don’t think we deserved to be 2-0 down but that’s the sort of game that it was,” he said.
“We said to the boys at halftime that it wasn’t good enough and, while I didn’t expect five goals in the second half, we needed a bit more enthusiasm.
“We always knew that we could score goals and we just took our chances in the second half and that’s the sort of thing that we can do. We are a great attacking team that can score goals.”
Meanwhile Sutherland Sharks mentor Grant Lee was shaking his head at how his young team just fell apart at the seams.
“It was exactly the same thing as last week against Hakoah,” he said.
“We have a very thin squad at the moment with a lot of players injured but I think we just ran out of gas and mentally switched off.
“That’s all I can put it down to and then we made some silly decisions at crucial moments.”
Rockdale City Suns 5
(Figon 66’, Alameddine pen. 72’, Ricciuto 74’, Urosevski 79’, Grozdanovski 84’)
Sutherland Sharks 2
(McClenehan o.g. 20’, Kajiyama 61’)
Sunday 2nd July 2017
Ilinden Sports Centre, Rockdale
Referee: C. Fisher
Assistant Referees: D. Horstead, R.Osborne
Fourth Official: T. Plasto
ROCKDALE CITY SUNS: 22. Ante Covic, 3. Steven Hesketh, 4. Trent McClenehan (11. Jonathan Grozdanovski 69’), 5. Paul Reid, 6. Blake Ricciuto, 8. Alec Canak. 10. Harris Gaitatzis (7. Alec Urosevski 62’), 16. Isaac Savor, 17. Toufic Alameddine, 18. Daniel Saric, 23. Jordan Figon (19. Patrick Savor 83’).
Substitutes not used: 1. David Bradasevic, 44. Brodie Smith
Yellow Cards: Canak 52’, Figon 57’
SUTHERLAND SHARKS: 1. Nathan Denham, 3. Takuya Murayama, 6. Matthew Gordon (31. Rob Watson 83’), 8. Chris McStay (30. Lachlan Everitt 88’), 9. Tomohiro Kajiyama, 11. Nathan Elasi, 12. Blair Brown, 13. Jeremy Cox (5. Matias Da Silva Santos 75’), 14. Patrick O’Shea, 19. Callum Fitzpatrick, 25. Wade Oostendorp
Substitutes not used: 15. Kevin Lopes, 21. Nikoals Loe
Yellow Cards: Kajiyama 65’, Oostendorp 73’, Brown 94’
Red Card: Kajiyama 76’
-By PlayStation®4 National Premier Leagues NSW Men’s reporter Joe Russo